by Daniele Scalea

Two news reports in recent hours bring the issue of the ongoing attempt to "normalize" pedophilia back into the limelight. Although using the term "limelight" is an antithesis, an exaggeration: the big media are ignoring the issue. And their silence fits, we do not know whether knowingly or not, into that very process of pedophilia's clearance.

Pedophilia: "normalization" in progress

Before dealing with the new facts, let's tie up the thread of the narrative that, at least on blogs like ours, takes place. Five months ago we wrote the article Pedophilia is trying to pass through Overton's window. In it, we reported of the choice made by a child abuse research center, belonging to the prestigious American Johns Hopkins University, to hire jurist Allyn Walker. "Transgender" and "nonbinary," according to the definition she gives of herself, Walker had previously been forced to resign from another university because of the controversy sparked by her positions on pedophilia: namely, that pedophiles who refrain from raping children should be "destigmatized," called by a less infamous name, understood and accepted.

The case of Allyn Walker and Johns Hopkins University allowed us to recall how an attempt to normalize pedophilia has been underway for decades. That attempt failed in the Sixty-Eight, although supported by leading intellectuals on the Left, but it is being proposed again today. Pedophiles, the aforementioned article recalled, have often acted by insinuating themselves into the gay movements - not because there is an identity between the two orientations, but because they hope that the emancipation of gays will lead to theirs in tow as well. That possibility is seen as all the more promising today, as the movement has since become increasingly inclusive - "LGBTQ+" is the label in vogue today, where the "plus" indicates that potentially every sexual orientation can find acceptance there. At a time when orthodoxy affirms that gender and sexual preference are a "spectrum" of infinite possibilities, all equally dignified, all fully normal, it is clear how weakened are the defenses that still allow pedophilia to be excluded from any recognition and legitimacy.

LGBT daycare centers in Berlin

After this introduction, let us come to the news of the day. Two different LGBT organizations, both specifically involved with minors, have come into the eye of the storm for having pedophilia apologists within them.

Let's look at the first case, in Germany. In Berlin, the organization Schwulenberatung - which, as its name implies, provides psycho-social assistance to queer people - has decided to open two daycare centers, with the stated intention of exposing toddlers from 0 to 3 years old to homosexual content in order to accustom them to "alternative lifestyles." These kindergartens will be incorporated into a larger housing structure, with apartments, restaurants, even a hospice, all aimed at non-heterosexual people.

The news will, in itself, raise more than one eyebrow, because for many, issues related to sexuality should be excluded from the education of young children. But what has generated the fuss is that one of the three Schwulenberatung board members is the controversial sociologist Rüdiger Lautmann. In 1994 he published a book, Die Lust am Kind ("The Attraction to the Child"), devoted to exploring pedophilia. An academic work, sure, but one in which some, shall we say, "objectionable" positions are expressed.

A pedophilia apologist?

Lautmann referred to psychiatrist Eberhard Schorsch's judgments that pedophilia could not be considered "inherently bad" or "dangerous," but should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. This led him to a slippery ridge, questioning the sexuality of children and how it could meet in a "consensual" manner with that of the adult. All the more so since the book is based on interviews with pedophiles and, therefore, sometimes their perspective and the author's fade into each other, in an ambiguity perhaps sought in order to afford "stronger" statements. "In the final analysis," the book reads, "it is the pedophile who wants and initiates the sexual aspect of the relationship; this, no less, is done within the limits of what the child allows and what the child is ready for."

The German sociologist in the book was careful not to be too explicit on certain issues, but reading through it makes clear how for him the "boundaries" set by society and the law in relation to child sexuality are too arbitrary and puritanical. At times he gets out of line and writes phrases that weigh on his credibility today - such as the following:

I believe that pedophiles - or, to be more precise, those we interviewed - make great efforts to obtain the child's consent and, as well, that they take a "no" seriously. At this point, I cannot refrain from throwing this dig: a large portion of heterosexual men would do well to employ such carefully developed consent strategies with women.

[…]

In many cases the pedosexual encounter is actually directed toward the goal that Michael-Sebastian Honig has defined of child-love: a playful satisfaction of the need for tenderness that does not exclude genital arousal.

The apologetic view of pedophiles seeking the "consent" of victims shines through in passages like these. Where Lautmann has to address the problem of the most aggressive pedophiles, he is careful to point out that "these are men whose competence in pedophilic acting is limited [...] but this gradation of competence is seen in all sexual scenes." That is, the fault would not be in being pedophiles but, as he explains a little later, in being masculine:

There is too much traditional male thinking [in this pedophile's account]. Less educated interviewees were more likely to still speak in paternalistic terms; probably also in their interaction with girls. For the pedophile who targets girls, his masculinity is an impediment. Hegemonic masculinity (Bob Connell) goes along with his gender programming [...]. The one who loves girls not only possesses adult superiority; he is also obligated to be dominant toward all females. If he is looking for a loving relationship, he will have to unlearn all his traditional notions of gender.

The German sociologist is therefore keen to exclude the case histories of rape, incest and abuse from the scope of what he calls "true" pedophiles and who "do not want to - and should not - be lumped in with abusers." Pedophiles, Lautmann explains, have their own "ethics." Actually, pedophilia was "invented" when, in past centuries, people began to conceive of childhood as a moment distinct from adulthood and children as individuals to be educated and protected - which in Lautmann's conception corresponds, who knows why, to "repression." In his view, it is in the nineteenth century that pedophilia "evolves" to "differentiate itself from sexual abuse and incest in all essential respects save the characteristic of age."

In Lautmann's interpretation, the child became at that stage an idealized being as "pure," dressed in an increasingly charming manner, and with an inherently playful attitude. The pedophile addresses it as a "person of superior worth." So we read in the book:

Over the course of the 20th century, ideas about childhood have changed repeatedly while at the same time being massively sexualized. I am reminded of how the claims of Freud and Kinsey were initially received with great upset. In addition, since 1950, historically new themes have emerged: the equality of the child, the child as personal partner, the non-dominant interaction between parent and child. Sexuality no longer yields to communicative prohibitions. Generations in this way come so closely together that intimacy between them becomes imaginable. At this point pedophilia would have to become a possibility.

LGBT Sirens for Children

Let us now turn to the second news and move to Great Britain. The scandal concerns the NGO "Mermaids", which has been working with so-called "transgender" children since 1995. The organization is also infamous for having played a major role in pushing the London clinic in Tavistock to indulge in early sex changes on children (the number of surgeries had become so absurdly high that a few months ago, thanks in part to the push of lawsuits brought by victims such as Keira Bell, it was announced that the service would be abolished and devolved to regional clinics).

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In September, the “Telegraph” dealt an initial blow to Mermaids' image. A journalist contacted the organization by e-mail, posing as a 14-year-old girl. After an exchange of letters, without ever seeing the interlocutor or even caring about her psychological state or her parents' wishes, the NGO agreed to provide her with a breast binder - a tool that the same promoters on the Internet admit can cause back pain, chest pain, difficulty breathing, lung or rib damage. The British charities regulatory commission has launched an investigation, meanwhile suspending the lavish public funding (£500,000!) that Mermaids receives through the National Lottery.

At conference with pedophiles

In October came the second blow. The "Times" discovered that one of Mermaids' administrators, LSE professor (where he teaches "Gender and Sexuality") Jacob Breslow, had spoken at a B4U-ACT conference in 2011 (when he was already a Ph.D. student), which focuses on psychological support for pedophiles. Such a mission is not evil per se, but B4U-ACT is accused of wanting to normalize pedophilia. On its website, psychological support is not presented as aimed at preventing child abuse: it is stated that pedophiles should turn to them for issues "unrelated to their sexuality" or "caused by society's negative reactions"; it is explicitly denied that pedophilia constitutes a sickness or that support should serve to modify the pedophile's sexual feelings. Some concern is also raised by the fact that the founder was a convicted child molester.

But what was the Mermaids administrator's role in that conference? A summary note with highlights has appeared on the Internet (and not refuted), in which Breslow's speech is thus accounted for:

Self-described "gay activist" and speaker Jacob Breslow said that children can properly be "the object of our attraction." He further objectified children, suggesting that pedophiles needn't gain consent from the child to have sex with "it" any more than we need consent from a shoe to wear it. He then used graphic, slang language to favorably describe the act of climaxing (ejaculating) "on or with" a child. No one in attendance objected to this explicit depiction of a child sexual assault.

True or not is this account of Breslow's words, on several occasions he has expressed "controversial" positions on children's sexuality.

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Founder and President of Centro Studi Machiavelli. Graduated in Historical Sciences (University of Milan) and PhD in Political Studies (Sapienza University), he is professor of "History and doctrine of jihadism" and "Geopolitics of the Middle East" at Cusano University. From 2018 to 2019 he was Special Advisor on Immigration and Terrorism to the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Guglielmo Picchi. His latest book (as editor) is Topicality of sovereignism. Between pandemic and war.